By George Friedman
About a year ago, the Trump administration carried out a cruise missile strike on a Syrian airfield within 48 hours of a major chemical weapons attack on civilians, allegedly carried out by the Assad regime. The strike did some damage but nothing of such significance as to force the regime to change its strategy, either in general or on chemical weapons. Indeed, there was no expectation of change. The response was the military equivalent of a strong diplomatic note and was treated as such by the Syrians.
It’s almost been a week since the latest major chemical attack, this time targeting the Damascus suburb of Douma. Assad’s regime is again generally assumed to have been responsible. U.S. President Donald Trump vowed a short time later that there would be a “big price to pay” and, outside of an ambiguous tweet on April 12, has continued to threaten military action, yet this time he has held off on launching it. The more time goes by and the more the